The community of Miami woke on Sunday, September 25, 2016, to tragic news: beloved Miami Marlins pitcher, Jose Fernandez, was killed, along with two others, in a boating crash earlier that morning. This incident is a terrible tragedy. While the investigation is still pending and the final results will not be known for some time, the initial report indicated that alcohol or drugs were not involved in the crash. The experienced Miami personal injury lawyers at Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano have represented numerous personal injury clients.
As Miami-based personal injury attorneys, we see facts similar to these frequently. While fun and exhilarating, boating is still an inherently dangerous activity. Many people each year suffer fatal or substantial injuries from boating accidents. Numerous boating accidents are caused by excessive alcohol intake or ingestion of drugs, while negligence causes others, inattention, carelessness, or inexperience. Boaters must also contend with rapidly changing weather, changing tides, and winds as well as other boaters. Low visibility, especially boating at night, substantially increases the dangers inherent in boating.
The Coast Guard and other law enforcement authorities made some information public. The Coast Guard found the boat around 3:30 a.m. The boat in which the Mr Fernandez struck a jetty at Government Cut near Miami Beach. It appears that the boat struck the north jetty. The north jetty protrudes over 1,000 feet further into the bay than the southern jetty. The 32-foot boat travelled at “full speed” in a southerly direction and struck the jetty. Upon striking the jetty comprised of boulders, the boat flipped entirely over. Preliminary speeds suggest that the boat’s speed was between 50 and 65 mph. All three occupants were killed in the crash. The Coast Guard found two individuals under the boat and they found a third person in the water, just south of the jetty. None of the deceased wore life jackets. The boat’s navigation lights were still on when Coast Guard arrived at the crash scene. Damage to the boat’s hull suggests the boat struck a submerged object before striking the jetty.
The Visit Florida website touts Government Cut as a safe area in which to boat. Many boats, including cruise ships, use Government Cut to access Miami’s port. The area is unsafe to enter at night or in low visibility, however. Local law enforcement knows the area to be very difficult to navigate at night, even if the captain is an experienced navigator. The lights on the street and the shore obscure the jetty. The rising tide does as well. The waters around the jetty were choppy that night as well, adding to the danger inherent in nighttime boating.
Jose Fernandez’ death is a tragic reminder that boaters and passengers must use care and exhibit caution while boating. Boaters must not consume alcohol before or while driving a boat. Passengers in the boat should keep alcohol consumption to the minimum. Excessive alcohol consumption impairs the judgment of those who consumed it. Furthermore, all occupants of the boat should wear life vests. Boaters should travel at speeds reasonable for the circumstances, especially when boating at night or under circumstances, like rain or fog, when visibility is limited. Stopping or changing directions in a boat is not the same as when doing the same in a car. Therefore, obstacles which appear unexpectedly due to reduced visibility or impairment are impossible to avoid. Failure to follow these common-sense rules can lead to senseless loss of life and limb.
Contact the Personal Injury Attorneys of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation!
If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a boating accident in Florida, call Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano. Martindale Hubbell gave Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano an AV-rating for a reason: they get results. With over 130 years of combined experience in litigation, Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano has the knowledge and skill to win the compensation you deserve. Call Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, today at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 to schedule your free consultation.